Massachusetts Property Tax Exemptions Explained

Reducing Property Taxes Massachusetts Property Tax Exemptions Explained

Join the (Tea) Party With Massachusetts Property Tax Exemptions

Massachusetts is a great place to live, with a stable and diverse economy, a great balance of urban and rural environments, and a world-class range of schools, hospitals, and amenities to make life pleasurable.

It’s not cheap, though. House prices are rising on average by 4.5% per year, and the median house price for a single-family home in 2020 reached nearly $680,000.

Add to that average property tax rates of 1.17% across the state, and you could be facing a punishing annual tax bill to live there.

Massachusetts wants to attract residents, though, as house sales are dropping sharply. For this reason, the state offers a range of property tax exemptions that can ease your annual tax burden. DoNotPay will help you check your eligibility and apply for any exemptions you qualify for.

What Is Property Tax?

Property tax is a levy on the real estate you own and is essential for local authorities to balance their budgets. Communities are duty-bound to provide certain amenities to their residents, and these have to be funded adequately to ensure the public services are efficient.

Property tax is used to fund:

  • Public schools
  • Libraries
  • Police
  • Fire department
  • Garbage collection
  • Street lighting
  • Road maintenance
  • Libraries
  • Public recreation facilities

Property tax means that all these services get the money they require to make your life in Massachusetts comfortable.

Massachusetts Property Tax Calculations Explained

Property tax in Massachusetts is calculated by multiplying the value of your property by the local tax rate.

The local tax rate is on the decrease in Massachusetts, having been reduced by about 1.5% on average since 2019. If the trend continues, Massachusetts may become one of the states with below-average property tax rates.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you will pay less, though. The tax rate is only one part of the equation.

The other part of the equation is the value of your Massachusetts property as assessed by the state. Every property in the state is appraised to determine its fair market value, and assessors use one or all of the following methods to come up with a number:

ApproachExplanation
Sales comparison approachCompares each property with similar-sized properties in the area that have sold recently
Cost approachCalculates how much a property would cost to build at today’s prices
Income approachBases a commercial property’s value on how much income it generates

Property values in Massachusetts are appraised each year by local assessors and the value set as of January 1. The assessments are run at a local level and are overseen by the Bureau of Local Assessment (BLA).

You can take a look at the BLA’s guidelines here.

Are Any Property Tax Exemptions Available in Massachusetts?

As a Massachusetts resident, you may be eligible for the following property tax exemptions:

  1. Senior exemption
  2. Veterans’ or surviving spouses’ exemption
  3. Blind persons’ exemption
  4. Surviving spouses of firefighters or police officers exemption
  5. Hardship exemption

Senior Exemption

Persons over the age of 65 may be eligible for an exemption of up to $1,000, depending on their assets and income.

Veterans’ or Surviving Spouses’ Exemption

Massachusetts looks after its veterans and their spouses with a range of available exemptions. The Commonwealth of MA website can give you all the details.

Blind Persons’ Exemption

Certified 100% blind people may qualify for an exemption of up to $500.

Surviving Spouses of Firefighters’ or Police Officers’ Exemption

The surviving spouses of public law enforcement or protection officers who have died in the line of duty may qualify for a total property tax exemption.

Hardship Exemption

Local initiatives have been set up to ensure that people experiencing hardship due to age, illness, or poverty can apply for various property tax exemptions.

The above are state exemption programs, but many local authorities offer additional programs for special circumstances. You can find more details here.

How Can I Get a Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption?

You have to apply to your local authority in Massachusetts to receive a property tax exemption.

Your application has to be submitted every year in the town where you live and must be filed by April 1. Under state and federal law, you can only receive one exemption per fiscal year. If you qualify for more than one, Massachusetts will grant you the largest one for which you are eligible.

DoNotPay Is Here To Help You Claim a Property Tax Exemption in Massachusetts

Property tax exemption applications can be complex, but DoNotPay makes the process simpler.

Our app can check your location and give you customized advice on what exemptions are available in your area. The guide comes with two sections:

Property Tax ExemptionsProperty Assessment Appeals
  • Information about the property tax exemptions available in Massachusetts
  • A list of documents for you to fill in and submit
  • Instructions on how to submit your application
  • How to negotiate with a property assessor
  • How to appeal an assessment you think is wrong

How Do I Get DoNotPay’s Property Tax Guide?

Our guide is easy to get—here’s what you need to do:

  1. Go to DoNotPay using any web browser, sign up, and find the Property Tax feature
  2. Answer the questions about yourself and your property
  3. Wait for the app to give you a customized guide to property tax reductions

Further Tips From DoNotPay To Reduce Your Property Tax in Massachusetts

As a Massachusetts resident, you may be looking for other ways to lower your property tax bill or get help paying your property tax. Check out the table below for more tips:

ActionExplanation

Avoiding property upgrades

Anything you do to improve your property could increase its value, and this will result in a higher property assessment. Try to avoid renovations or additions that will result in this

Checking your tax bill

Everyone makes mistakes, and you should check your tax bill to make sure all the details are correct, the assessment is as expected, and all the calculations are above board

Working with the assessor

Try to accompany the assessor as your property is appraised. This ensures you can point out any factors that may influence the value assigned to your real estate

Your last course of action is to appeal your property tax assessment if you feel your real estate has been overvalued. DoNotPay can help you understand the appeal procedure, prepare the necessary documents, and launch your appeal.

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